Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios on your phone

Get breaking news and scoops on the go with the Axios app.

Download for free.

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Then-Attorney General Bill Barr during a Dec. 21 news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

The Trump Department of Justice attempted to obtain the communications records of three Washington Post reporters via legal action over 2017 reports on Russian election interference and Russia's ambassador, court documents unsealed Tuesday show.

Why it matters: The court order was lodged in secret the day before Bill Barr stepped down as attorney general last December.

  • The Biden Justice Department said last month it will no longer secretly seize reporters' records in leak investigations, following revelations that the Trump administration obtained phone records of New York Times, WashPost and CNN reporters.

Details: The order sought to uncover the leaker of classified information contained in three WashPost articles by Adam Entous, Greg Miller and Ellen Nakashima, whose records the Trump administration was trying to obtain:

  • One article from May 2017 on conversations President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner had with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the U.S.
  • A June 2017 report on how the Obama administration dealt with U.S. election interference by Russia's government.
  • A July 2017 piece on discussions between Kislyak and then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, who went on to become the Trump administration's first attorney general.

Of note: The Biden administration was initially against the unsealing of the documents. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui said in her order that the government's "sealing power may not be exercised indiscriminately."

  • "A sealed matter is not generally, as the government persists in imagining, 'nailed into a nondescript crate, stored deep in a sprawling, uncataloged warehouse,'" Faruqui said, quoting an earlier opinion that cites the 1981 movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark" — which WashPost notes was made by Attorney General Merick Garland when he was an appeals court judge.
  • "Rather, it is merely frozen in carbonite, awaiting its eventual thawing," Faruqui added, evoking the 1980 film "The Empire Strikes Back."

What they're saying: Washington Post publisher Fred Ryan said in a statement, "Unsealing the application to obtain our reporters' email records was an important step. It remains essential that a full accounting of what happened be made public."

  • Representatives for Barr and the DOJ could not immediately be reached.

Go deeper

DOJ won't prosecute Wilbur Ross for misleading Congress on census question

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department has declined to prosecute former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross for misleading Congress on the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Catch up quick: Ross had testified that the Trump administration wanted the addition due to a DOJ request for data so it could better enforce the Voting Rights Act. But internal records showed that Trump officials, including Ross, had planned to add the question long before the DOJ submitted its formal request in December 2017.

Mike Allen, author of AM
13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

America's "Friendscape" crisis

New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past, and are less likely to have a best friend.

  • Why it matters: At a time of excruciating mental and societal stress, this is another sign we're breaking apart. And the friendship drought could get worse with more people working remotely or hybrid-ly.

Pelosi says it's her "plan" to appoint GOP Rep. Kinzinger to Jan. 6 committee

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that it is her "plan" to appoint Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to the House select committee investigating the deadly Jan 6. Capitol riots.

Why it matters: Pelosi's statement to ABC's "This Week" comes after she rejected two of the five Republican appointments offered by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).